Planning For A Race
Preparation is key to your success on the Race-Day.Here are few ways to gear up, get ready, and cross the finish line strong.
Hydrating and Fueling
Nearly all marathons include water and aid stations along the way. Do you prefer to run with a bottle? Or are you okay with taking drinks at water stations? Decide what you're going to do, and train in the same way.
Before you run, you should have six to eight ounces of water, sports drink, or even coffee.
While you are running, you should aim to take in three to six ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. Water is usually fine for runs in the 30- to 60-minute range. After runs longer than that, and you should consider a sports drink with carbs and electrolytes to replenish sodium.
During the last three days, concentrate on eating carbohydrate-rich foods, such as pasta, potatoes, bread, fruit and fruit juice, and sports drinks. It’s the carbs, after all, not fat or protein, that will fuel you on race day. As with everything, make sure to test out various types of fuel on your training runs to see what your stomach tolerates best, so you can fuel confidently on race day.
Before the Race
- Hydrate well for several days leading up to your marathon. Drink a big glass of water before you go to bed the night before race day. Drink another one first thing in the morning.
- In order to have a well-hydrated body. Avoid alcohol or excessive amounts of caffeine this specific day. Your morning cup of coffee is OK, but not all day.
- You can't run without fuel but eating too close to starting time will only cause cramps.Eat a simple, high-carbohydrate breakfast several hours before the start of the race. Bagels, oatmeal, bars and fruit all work well.
- Race day isn't for experiments, so wear your tried and trusted gear - not something new. In hot weather, it's best to wear lightweight, UPF-rated garments, which will breathe and protect you from sunlight. A cap with good ventilation or mesh and a brim to keep sun off your face is good, as is a generous dollop of sunscreen for exposed skin.
TIP*: Don't try anything new on race day—no new shoes, new shorts or a new shirt.
During the Race
- Fifteen minutes before the start, begin some gentle stretching. Concentrate on the muscles of the back side of your body–your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Remember, your goal is to start the race comfortably, not to audition for a yoga video, so go easy. Try to keep stretching after you’ve been herded to the start area. Jog in place as well, to keep your heart rate slightly elevated.
- Start slowly. It's easy to get caught up in race-day adrenaline, but starting too fast is a big rookie mistake. There will be plenty of miles over which to pick up your pace if you're feeling great.
- Don't blaze by every aid station or try to drink from a cup while running full blast. Either practice drinking while running before race day or just pull over for a few seconds to drink.
TIP*: If you feel like you are bonking or your running pace is just off
, then follow someone who is just in front of you but is going fast enough that you can pace yourself with them. If you lose them, find someone else that you can pace yourself with because this will help you establish your rhythm again.
TIP*: DECIDE HOW YOU ARE GOING TO RUN THE RACE
It is impossible to know how any race will go but that doesn't mean you don't need a plan. Do you want to run fast at the start and then ease up, or vice versa? Try not to let the behavior of other runners influence you into changing your plan. For beginners we suggest to avoid running fast at the start of a race. Passing those overenthusiastic people in the second half will make you feel much better!
After The Race
- Keep moving. Get your medal and keep walking for at least 10 minutes to fend off stiffness and gradually bring your heart rate back to its resting state. Be sure to do some postrace recovery stretches to stretch out your legs, back, and hips.
- Refuel. There are usually snacks at the finish line, but what the race provides may not sit well with you. To recover quickly, bring a snack with a combination of protein to rebuild muscles and healthy carbs to restock your energy stores. Consume it within 30 minutes of finishing the race. You might try a sports recovery drink, energy bar, or other packaged food that won’t spoil, spill, or get ruined in transit.
- Get warm. Change out of the clothes you ran in, and get into dry clothes as soon as possible. After you cross the finish line, your core temperature will start to drop fast, and keeping sweaty clothes on will make you cold.
- The next day, get going. As sore as you might feel the day after the race, it’s important to do some sort of nonimpact activity like swimming, cycling, or working out on the elliptical trainer. The movement will increase circulation to your sore muscles and help you bounce back sooner. Just keep the effort level easy.
- Get plenty of sleep. Eat well-balanced meals. Take care of any injuries or ailments you may have developed during the race. Nourish your immune system, which will be more vulnerable immediately after the marathon.
- If you get injured while running, make sure you get adequate rest before you go back to your training schedule. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) is the first line of defense for pulled muscles, strains and sprains.Rest to prevent further injury, ice to slow swelling or bleeding, compression from an elastic bandage to immobilize a joint and/or further reduce swelling, and elevation to prevent fluid buildup in the tissues.
NO MATTER IF IT'S YOUR FIRST OR 101ST RACE: ENJOY IT!
Running is to be enjoyed. If you are disappointed by your performance, allow yourself to annoyed about it for a while but then log it and move on. Reading the log later on might help you avoid a similar experience. But keep in mind that everyone has bad days, and the memory will fade quickly when you have another good run!